On remembering the past & anticipating the future - Embedded.com

On remembering the past & anticipating the future


In January of every year, tradition dictates that we take a good look at our recent history and assess both our mistakes and our accomplishments to see what we can learn from them, and then look forward, anticipating new experiences and setting new goals.

In keeping with that ancient tradition, the first issue of the Embedded Tech Focus newsletter this year focused on both the past and the future of embedded systems design, looking back 40 years and looking forward as much as 20 years.

The guide to embedded system design’s past wasJack Ganssle’s recent four-part series on the microprocessor and its impact on embedded hardware and software design:

The microprocessor at 40
From light bulbs to computers
The semiconductor revolution
Microprocessors change the world

My main guide to the future is a collection of articles –2008 to 2028: Twenty more years of achievement in embedded systems” – t hat celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Embedded.com and Embedded Systems Design Magazine. In this series, in addition to an introductory article on “Embedded is (still) as embedded does, ” a variety of hardware engineers, software developers, and company executives look back from the year 2028 and chronicle the “future history” of embedded systems design. Of these, my Editor’s Top Picks are:

Embedded systems: The marketplace in 2028
2028: Wireless is the new wired
Cores’ law, swarm computing and people power

Reading Jack’s four-part history lesson has been an eye-opening experience for me. All of us knew that the microprocessor and the embedded hardware and software technology it triggered were going to have a profound impact on how we live our lives. But his analysis of the compute power now inherent in an ordinary smartphone or tablet computer (the equivalent of a 1985 Cray supercomputer ) staggered me.

His vivid chronicle made me realize that as ambitious and far reaching as the contributions to our 2028 series of “future history” articles were, they might have been too cautious and too straight-line in their thinking about anticipated developments.

I would like to hear from you about what you anticipate about the future of embedded systems design, both in comments here below and in future design articles and commentary for use on the site and in the newsletters.

Embedded.com Site Editor Bernard Cole is also a partner in TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Call 928-525-9087 or send an email to bccole@techrite-associates.com.

This article provided courtesy of Embedded.com and Embedded Systems Design Magazine. Sign up for subscriptions and newsletters. Copyright © 2011 UBM–All rights reserved.

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